29 Perish in Club Inferno

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A fire at the Masquerade nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, April 2, resulted in the deaths of at least 29 people.

The incident occurred in the club, located on the ground and basement floors of a 16-story residential building on Gonenoglu Street in Istanbul’s Besiktas district, as the venue was undergoing renovations. Smoke filled the air as high as the third floor, trapping people inside, as there was only one exit. 

The Masquerade nightclub, known for its large capacity and ability to attract well-known performers and DJs, had announced on its website plans to reopen on April 10 after being closed for improvements. The club was not open to the public at the time of the fire, and only workers involved in the renovation were present.

The office of Istanbul’s governor confirmed that eight people were injured, with seven receiving treatment for serious injuries. Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said that experts are investigating to determine the cause of the fire. It was confirmed that the deceased were workers engaged in the club’s renovation process.

Broadcaster CNN Turk reported that fiber materials caught fire in an explosion during sound insulation and decoration work at the venue.

Authorities have taken eight people into custody related to the incident, including people in management and those responsible for overseeing the renovation project. This follows the initiation of both judicial and administrative investigations by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, respectively.

Governor Davut Gul confirmed that the fire has been extinguished. Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu has reported that building inspections are underway to evaluate its structural integrity, and emergency services responded promptly to the incident.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office, through communications director Fahrettin Altun, expressed that the President is closely monitoring the situation. Mayor Imamoglu, in statements made on social media, extended his condolences to the families of the victims and to the nation.

“May God have mercy on our citizens who lost their lives,” Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said on X. “And I wish a speedy recovery to our injured.”

The club’s closure coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, with plans to complete renovations in anticipation of the Eid holiday following Ramadan. According to Mayor Imamoglu, the nightclub had not secured the required permits for the construction and renovation activities.

This fire led to a significant emergency response, including the precautionary suspension of power and natural gas supplies to the surrounding area. The event has drawn attention to the importance of safety regulations and permits in construction and renovation projects in the city.

As investigations continue into the cause of the fire, the community and country mourn the loss of lives.

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